Welcome to the Jungle

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This article is about the Guns N' Roses song. For other uses, see Welcome to the Jungle (disambiguation).
"Welcome to the Jungle"
Single by Guns N' Roses
from the album Appetite for Destruction
A-side "Welcome to the Jungle" (LP Version)
B-side "Mr. Brownstone" (US)
"Whole Lotta Rosie" (live) (UK)
Released October 3, 1987
Format 7" vinyl, 12" vinyl, 12" picture disc, CD
Recorded March 12, 1987
Genre Hard rock, heavy metal
Length 4:30 (Album version)
5:06 (Demo version)
Label Geffen
Writer(s) Axl Rose, Slash, Izzy Stradlin, Duff McKagan, Steven Adler
Producer(s) Mike Clink
Guns N' Roses singles chronology
"It's So Easy"
(1987)
"Welcome to the Jungle"
(1987)
"Sweet Child o' Mine"
(1988)
Appetite for Destruction track listing
"Welcome to the Jungle"
(1)
"It's So Easy"
(2)
Audio sample
file info · help

"Welcome to the Jungle" is a song by American hard rock band Guns N' Roses, featured on their 1987 debut studio album, Appetite for Destruction. It was released as the band's second single on October 3, 1987, and reached number seven on the Billboard Hot 100[1] and number 24 on the UK Singles Chart.[2]

In the United Kingdom, "Welcome to the Jungle" was backed with a live cover of AC/DC's "Whole Lotta Rosie", while in the United States the B-side was "Mr. Brownstone" from Appetite for Destruction. The 12" vinyl and 12" picture disc editions of the single also featured "Whole Lotta Rosie", in addition to live versions of "It's So Easy" and "Knockin' on Heaven's Door". In 2009 "Welcome to the Jungle" was named the greatest hard rock song of all time by VH1.[3]

Background and composition[edit]

According to an interview published by Hit Parader in March 1988, "Axl wrote the words while visiting his long-time friend Tori in Kingston, Washington, a town outside of Seattle. It's a big city, but at the same time it's still a small city compared to Los Angeles and the things that you're gonna learn. It seemed a lot more rural up there. Axl just wrote how it looked to him. If someone comes to town and they want to find something, they can find whatever they want."[4] Hit Parader also quoted rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin as summarising the song as "about Hollywood streets; true to life."[5]

Slash describes the development of the music of "Welcome to the Jungle" in his self-titled autobiography. As the band was trying to write new material, Axl remembered a riff Slash had played while he was living in the basement of Slash's mother's house. He played it and the band quickly laid down the foundations for the song, as Slash continued coming up with new guitar parts for it. He credits Duff McKagan as coming up with the breakdown (main riff). Duff backs this up in his autobiography, It's So Easy (and other Lies), saying it was from a song called "The Fake" that he wrote in 1978 for the Vains, a punk band he was in.[6] He also said it was the first song he ever wrote, and that it was later released as a single by the band.[6] According to Slash, the song was written in approximately three hours.[7] The line "Welcome to the Jungle" was also featured in the 1984 song "Underwater World" by the Finnish glam punk band Hanoi Rocks, whom Axl has cited as the biggest influence of Guns N' Roses.[citation needed]

Clint Eastwood wanted to use the song in his film The Dead Pool. The movie featured a then-unknown Jim Carrey playing a rock star by the name of "Johnny Squares". Carrey would be filmed lip synching to "Welcome to the Jungle". The band was asked to be in the film, and can be seen briefly during Johnny Squares' funeral scene, as well as during the shooting of a movie, when Slash, Duff, Izzy, and Steven Adler are seen on a prop boat, with Slash firing a harpoon at a window, which was later used in the film to kill the antagonist.[citation needed]

Reception[edit]

Martin Popoff included the song at number nineteen in his book The Top 500 Heavy Metal Songs of All Time;[citation needed] it was ranked the second "greatest metal song" by VH1;[8] it appeared at #467 on Rolling Stone' "500 Greatest Songs of All Time" list,[9] it appeared as number seven hundred and sixty-four on Q's "1001 Best Songs Ever" chart;[5] and the song was named the "greatest song about Los Angeles" in a poll in Blender.[citation needed] In 2009, it was named the greatest hard rock song of all time by VH1.[3] The song is a frequently used during sporting events (for example: at faceoff of a Dallas Stars game at American Airlines Center, whenever the San Francisco Giants take the field to begin a game at AT&T Park, and when Craig Kimbrel enters the game to pitch the 9th inning at Turner Field) and in 2009 the readers of Rolling Stone magazine rated it the greatest sports anthem.[10]

Music video[edit]

Geffen Records was having a hard time selling the video to MTV. David Geffen made a deal with the network, and the video was aired only one time around 5:00AM on a Sunday morning.[11] As soon as the video was aired, the networks received numerous calls from people wanting to see the video again.

In spite of the early morning airtime, the song's music video caught viewers' attention and quickly became MTV's most requested video. The video in question begins with a shot of Axl Rose disembarking a bus in Los Angeles and a drug dealer (portrayed by Izzy) is seen trying to sell his merchandise while Rose rejects it. As Rose stops to watch a television through a store window, clips of the band playing live can be seen and Slash can also be seen briefly, sitting against the store's wall and drinking from a clear glass bottle in a brown paper bag. By the end of the video Rose has transformed into a city punk, wearing the appropriate clothing, after going through a process similar to the Ludovico technique.

During an interview with Rolling Stone magazine about the music video, Guns N' Roses' manager at the time, Alan Niven, said that he "came up with the idea of stealing from three movies: Midnight Cowboy, The Man Who Fell to Earth and A Clockwork Orange."[12]

Live performances[edit]

"Welcome to the Jungle" is often used as the opener at Guns N' Roses concerts, being played at almost every show on the Appetite for Destruction Tour and Use Your Illusion Tour. From 2001-2007, on the Chinese Democracy Tour, "Welcome to the Jungle" was used exclusively as the show opener, until 2009, when it was replaced by "Chinese Democracy". It now occupies the second spot on the setlist. When performed live the often begins with the line: "Do you know where the Fuck you are? You're in the jungle! Wake up! Time to Die!", in reference to song's bridge.

The song was used as the concert introduction during concerts in Shakira's world tour, the Tour of the Mongoose. Australian rock band Mammal frequently cover "Welcome to the Jungle" live, incorporating the first verse and chorus of the song as part of their own song "Inciting". Pink performed the song at her 2003's Try This Tour.

Track listings[edit]

All songs credited to Guns N' Roses except where noted

US 7" vinyl (927 759-7)
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Welcome to the Jungle"     4:30
2. "Mr. Brownstone"     3:46
Total length:
8:17
UK 1987 7" vinyl (GEF 30)
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Welcome to the Jungle"     4:30
2. "Whole Lotta Rosie" (Live AC/DC cover) Angus Young, Malcolm Young, Bon Scott 5:29
Total length:
10:00
UK 1987 12" vinyl (GEF 30T); 12" picture disc (GEF 30TP)
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Welcome to the Jungle"     4:30
2. "Whole Lotta Rosie" (Live AC/DC cover) Young, Young, Scott  
3. "It's So Easy" (live) Guns N' Roses, West Arkeen  
4. "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" (Live Bob Dylan cover) Bob Dylan  
UK 1988 7" vinyl (GEF 47)
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Welcome to the Jungle"     4:30
2. "Nightrain"     4:29
Total length:
9:00
UK 1988 12" vinyl (GEF 47T); 12" poster bag (GEF 47TW); 12" picture disc (GEF 47TP);12" patch (GEF47TV); 3" CD (GEF 47CD)
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Welcome to the Jungle"     4:30
2. "Nightrain"     4:29
3. "You're Crazy" (Acoustic Version)   4:10
Total length:
13:10

Personnel[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

References[edit]

  • Davis, Stephen (2008). Watch You Bleed: The Saga of Guns N' Roses. Gotham Books. ISBN 978-1-59240-377-6. 

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Artist Chart History - Guns N' Roses". Billboard. Retrieved 2008-12-17. 
  2. ^ "Guns N' Roses". Chart Stats. Retrieved 2008-12-17. 
  3. ^ a b "spreadit.org music". Retrieved February 7, 2009. 
  4. ^ "The Spaghetti Incident". hem.passagen.se. Retrieved 2008-12-17. 
  5. ^ a b "Welcome To The Jungle". Here Today... Gone To Hell!. Retrieved 200-12-17.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  6. ^ a b McKagan, Duff; Tim Mohr (2010). It's So Easy (and other Lies). New York: Simon & Schuster. pp. 42–43, 97. 
  7. ^ Bozza, Anthony; Slash (2007). Slash. New York: Harper Entertainment. pp. 108–109. 
  8. ^ "40 greatest metal songs (40 - 31)". VH1. Retrieved 2008-12-18. 
  9. ^ [1][dead link]
  10. ^ Readers Rock List: Sports Anthem - Rolling Stone.com
  11. ^ Tom King, The Operator: David Geffen Builds, Buys, and Sells the New Hollywood, p. 430, Broadway Books (New York 2001).
  12. ^ Rolling Stone Interview dealing with the music video
  13. ^ "Guitar Hero 3 Setlist Revealed". PC World. 2007. Retrieved 2008-07-28. 
  14. ^ Tor Thorsen (2004-10-26). "Full San Andreas soundtrack details". Game Spot. Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2009-12-17. 

External links[edit]